The Employer's Legal Resource: LGBT Discrimination: "What You Should Know"

12.01.14

The EEOC has clarified its stance on sexual orientation discrimination and transgender discrimination (also known as gender identity discrimination) in a new guide for employers entitled "What You Should Know about EEOC and the Enforcement Protections for LGBT Workers." In that guide, the EEOC cites three prior cases in which the Commission held that discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, the EEOC announced:

Consistent with these Commission rulings (and case law from the Supreme Court and other courts), the Commission has instructed our investigators and attorneys that discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender is a violation of Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination in employment. Therefore, the EEOC's district, field, and area offices have been instructed to take and investigate (where appropriate) charges from individuals who believe they have been discriminated against because of transgender status (or because of gender identity or a gender transition).

In addition, investigators and attorneys were instructed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals also may bring valid Title VII sex discrimination claims, and that the EEOC should accept charges alleging sexual-orientation-related discrimination. These allegations might include, for example, claims of sexual harassment or other kinds of sex discrimination, such as adverse actions taken because of the person's failure to conform to sex-stereotypes (such as those listed above).

More information from the EEOC on preventing employment discrimination of LGBT employees can be found here.

By Destyn D. Stallings, dstallings@dsda.com

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Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca represents clients primarily in labor and employment
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